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  • Egyptian Languages: Explained

    By Louise Bascombe, on 23 January 2018

    In our collection, we have representations of texts in all the major Egyptian languages.

    What, more than one? Yes! From ancient Egypt to historical Egypt to modern Egypt, there were many different scripts and languages used…

    Hieroglyphs:

    Limestone stela hieroglyph fragments with words from hymns (UC14583)

    Limestone stela fragments with words from hymns (UC14583)

     

    The script that is most recognisably Ancient Egyptian®. One of the oldest scripts used by the ancient Egyptians – and the script with the most longevity – its origins can be seen very early on in Egypt’s history, starting out life as single or small groups of signs that represented entire concepts or specific sounds. Already in the Early Dynastic Period (3100-2686BC), these signs were beginning to become standardised and by the 3rd Dynasty (2686-2613BC) were used in a wide range of contexts. They were, however, especially associated with religious texts, as it was believed that the beauty and monumental nature of hieroglyphs indicated that they were the ‘words of the gods’ (medu-netjer) and intended to be read by them.

     

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    Papyrus for the People Language Day

    By Louise Bascombe, on 30 August 2017

    As part of the Papyrus for the People Project, we at the Petrie Museum hosted a day wherein specialists in Ancient Egyptian languages came in and looked at our collection.

    The day started out with a team meeting; outlining the details of the project and the type of content we would like them to produce. See here for more information about the project itself.

    Having got the admin out of the way, we proceeded to let the specialists have at it!

    Language specialists looking into an open cupboard filled with papyri

    If you stare too long into a papyrus cupboard, the papyrus cupboard stares back at you.

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